Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “My only regret is that the pool was not deeper. And filled with sharks.”
Lovers of historical romance, trashy tabloids, road trips, and opposite attraction are sure to enjoy Sarah MacLean’s newest adventure that will leave you chuckling and at times outright laughing as you ride along on the outrageous journey of a young lady hellbent on escaping London and the irrepressible rake she finds herself unfortunately entangled with.
Lady Sophie Talbot’s father came into his title through monetary means and she has resigned herself to society’s edict that she and her sisters, dubbed the Scandalous S’s, will never be fully accepted. They are considered upstarts; interlopers. Though not at all as scandalous as her attention seeking older sisters, Sophie has her own moment of infamy when she catches her older sister’s husband in dishabille with a woman who is not his wife at a garden party. Not one to hold her tongue, Sophie calls him a cheating whore and knocks him into a fish pond. Knowing she has only placed her family in an even more precarious position than before, Sophie decides to run away to the family estate, buy a bookstore, and live out her life in splendid anonymity with her childhood playmate-the town baker.
Of course, this plan is thwarted by a man.
Isn’t it always?
Lord Kingscote, the Marquess of Eversley, a known rogue, rake, and royal debaucher of women is not having a great day. He has been summoned home like an errant schoolboy. Just barely missing flattening Sophie as he escapes yet another debacle of his own making, King is not in any mood to deal with a young woman who is holding his boots hostage. Sophie decides on impulse to ask King if he would give her a ride out of London. King knows exactly who Sophie is and due to his colorful past and massive paranoia, decides that she must be trying to trap him into marriage and proceeds to start shooting insults like a pez dispenser in hopes of chasing her off.
‘I assume you are leaving the party.’
‘As a matter of fact I am.’
‘Take me with you.’
‘So many reasons, poppet. Not of least which is this-I’ve no intention of being saddled with one of the Soiled S’s-‘
‘I do not intend to ensnare you, Lord Eversley. I assure you, even if I had, this interaction would have cured me of such an affliction. I require escape. Surely you understand that. As you seem to require the same.’
Unable to convince King that marrying him is akin to being dipped in oil and sautéed in a frying pan while alive, she takes her future in her own hands and proceeds to lead him on a merry chase from London to Scotland-bickering the whole way.
‘You left my Hessian in a hedge.’
‘You left me in a hedge.’
‘I had no use for you.’
‘Well, I had no use for your boot.’
Linked to her Rules for Scoundrels series, MacLean crafts a delightfully bittersweet and humorous romantic tale around two extremely strong and personable characters who will engage your heart with their witty quips and sharp banter. Though the story starts out a little slow as we are introduced to our hero and heroine, the pace speeds up quickly and you’re soon caught up in this madcap battle of the sexes. Sophie and King wage a war of wits and words where dislike turns into passion and desire turns into love.
I absolutely adored Sophie. Her intelligence and lively wit are only matched by her love for her family and her ability to think quickly on her feet. From bribery to outright theft, Sophie isn’t one to take rejection lying down. Her determination is a force to be reckoned with; much to family’s and King’s dismay. Unlike her sisters’ though, Sophie’s main objective isn’t to be in the spotlight or make a good match. She just wants to be accepted and loved for herself. King was harder to get to know. He has a troubled past and it colors his perceptions of people and romance. His reputation is hard won but not for the reasons everyone suspects. His insults towards Sophie are countermanded by his overwhelming need to protective her-especially from himself. He’s a conundrum that takes a while to solve.
Sparkling chemistry starts off on an antagonistic note between this ornery couple only to blaze up and burn hot though it takes awhile for either of them to admit to their mutual attraction. The more time they spend together, their attraction for one another intensifies but they both feel nothing can come of it. Emotions run high and the sexual tension is delicious as we are slowly led towards the conclusion.
A well-crafted set of secondary characters help to elevate and push Sophie’s and King’s romance along though the story remains focused on the protagonists’ with laser-like precision. Sophie and King meets some interesting characters on their road trip who prove to be invaluable allies. I do wish that we would have gotten a more in depth with Sophie’s sisters-especially her oldest sister. I really wanted to learn exactly what happened and where they will go from here. Hopefully, this will be addressed in later stories.
The ending was a mash up of bad decisions and miscommunication that forces our hero to reevaluate his past and the role Sophie plays in his future. A short but sweet epilogue lets us know how our couple and other characters are doing. Though repetitive at times due to King’s stubbornness to cling to his past, MacLean once again entertains us with a humorous historical romance that divulges deeply into the emotions of her hero and heroine with her trademark wit and passion. I am looking forward to the second book in this series-A Scot In The Dark-set to release August 30, 2016.